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The ongoing loss of biodiversity has created a social and environmental emergency. Governments, civil society and businesses are highlighting the need to urgently improve management of biodiversity as a public good. To date, we lack an understanding of how diverse policymakers interact to govern biodiversity conservation.

Objectives and questions:
Taking Colombia as a focal case, we asked four questions: (i) What is the composition of today’s biodiversity policy mix?; (ii) How has the policy mix evolved over time?; (iii) How do policies differ among actors and ecosystems in terms of themes and instruments?; and (iv) Does the policy mix address the primary threats to biodiversity?

First, to understand the composition of the policy mix, we characterize the country-level policy mix by analyzing policies led by various actor groups from global to local scales. Second, to elucidate the sequencing of policies over time, we characterize policies by the year of introduction, their policy instrument across five categories (i.e., command-and-control; financing; framework policy; information & networking; standards, commitments & pledges), and their policy theme (17 themes). Third, to evaluate whether policies differ between instruments, actors, and ecosystems, we characterize the policies by ecosystem type and perform chi-squared tests analyzing the relationship between lead actors and instruments, and between instruments and ecosystems. Fourth, to analyze whether the policy mix is addressing the main threats to biodiversity, we analyze the extent to which the overall policy mix addresses the key threats to biodiversity loss as identified by IPBES.

We found that Colombia has issued 186 biodiversity-related policies in the past six decades that govern multiple ecosystems, address multiple environmental threats, and use different instruments. While the central government retains a key role in agenda setting and policy initiation, many other actors have created policies, especially in the recent decade.

Implications and Conclusions:
Our findings suggest some equilibrium between policy supply and demand (based on the threats to biodiversity), as independent actors identify policy priorities at different scales. Based on our results, we identify two main priorities to reinforce biodiversity policy in Colombia: strengthening institutional capacity and inter-institutional coordination.


biodiversity conservation, bioeconomy, environmental governance, green growth, instrument mixes, policy

Alejandra Echeverri, Paul Furumo

Presentation within symposium:

S-41 Analysing the effects of armed conflict on forest cover, land-use and biodiversity conservation in Colombia

A Policy Mix Approach to Biodiversity Governance in Colombia


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